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RFID - Radio Frequency Identification Device

By: Christine Martz

Meaning of RFID - "Radio Frequency Identification Device", refers to systems that allow a device to read information contained in a wireless device that is commonly called a tag, and provides a method to transmit and receive data from one point to another. The devices to not make any physical contact nor do they require a line of sight between the two. 

RFID can be found in car keys, access cards, and libraries. RFID is even used in automated vehicle identification systems because of its ability to track moving objects. In a "passive" RFID scenario, the system works as follows: an RFID reader transmits an electromagnetic radio frequency signal via its antenna to a passive RFID tag. The reader receives information back from the tag and then sends it to a computer that controls the reader and processes the information that it retrieved from the tag. No batteries are required. The tags operate by using the energy they receive from signals sent by a reader. 

RFID technology has been commercially available in one form or another since the 1970s. 

Other Related Definitions:

“…The advent of standard barcodes brought tremendous efficiency gains in the distribution and retail industries, and RFID devices now hold even greater promise. Wal-Mart and other industry leaders have begun to introduce RFID technology into their supply chains, the Food and Drug Administration has recommended their ubiquitous use on pharmaceuticals, and the Department of Defense plans to boost its use of the tags this year. The potential benefits to the economy and consumers are vast: RFID tags may facilitate dramatically reduced supply-chain costs, better inventory management, automated store checkout, reduced theft, more accurate and efficient product recall, improved counterfeit drug prevention, and a host of other benefits. ” [Julie Hutto - Progressive Policy Institute

“…Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) are widely being hailed as the up-and-coming successor to barcodes. The superiority of RFID lies in its faster speed, rewriting capabilities, and the fact that the device need not be visible to be read.” [Michael Bannon - Illumin Magazine

“…Australian sheep and haute couture from Prada might not seem to have much in common, but they do. Each is a valuable asset tracked by radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. In the case of the sheep, a small plastic "smart tag" affixed to the animal's ear contains pertinent information about its bloodlines, date of birth and shot records. The tag Milan, Italy-based Prada (officially known as I Pellettieri d'Italia SpA) uses on merchandise at its showcase Epicenter store in New York carries information about a garment's style, size, color and other details, including price. ”[Bob Brewin - Computer World]

“…An RFID tag is a microchip attached to an antenna, which transmits unique information to a reader device that can be anywhere from a few inches to several feet away. The technology, with its many names ("contactless chips" has been around for some time), is used in security access cards, E-ZPass automatic toll-paying devices and ski-lift tickets.” [Mark Baard - Wired

Related Links:

Radio Frequency Identification - Little Devices Making Big Waves.
Tag Me - The World Of Radio Frequency Identification.
RFIDs - Their Implications for the Future.
Quickstudy on RFID - Great RFID overview
Current Radio Frequency Identification News - Latest RFID newspaper coverage

Technical Resources:

Radio Frequency Identification Device Technology - FactFile produced by the Institution of Electrical Engineers (the IEE)
Policy Report - RFID White Paper

Products and Solutions:

RFID Inc. - RFID products and applications

Blogs, News, Feeds, Discussion Lists:

RFID Gazette - Radio Frequency Identification blog - news and commentary
RFID Forums - List of 10 discussion forums related to RFID

Books About:

RFID - by Steven Shepard.
RFID Handbook : Fundamentals and Applications in Contactless Smart Cards and Identification - by Klaus Finkenzeller.
RFID Field Guide : Deploying Radio Frequency Identification Systems - by Manish Bhuptani, Shahram Moradpour

See Also:

Other RFID Related Resources

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